On Stage: 'Little Mermaid Jr.' through May 19 at University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts

features@islandpacket.comMay 7, 2013 

LittleMermaidJr_Poster
  • IF YOU GO

    WHAT: "Little Mermaid Jr.," presented by Beaufort Children's Theatre

    WHEN: 7 p.m. May 10-11, 17; 3 p.m. May 19

    WHERE: University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort.

    COST: $12; $8 for students; $20 adult reserved seating; $12 student reserved seating. DETAILS:843-521-4145, www.uscbcenterforthearts.com


Director: Bonnie Hargrove, Jim Riley and Valerie Hobb

Lead actors: There are 80 actors, ages 6-18. Two of the lead characters have been accepted to the South Carolina Governors School High School for Drama, Beaufort High School Sophomore Ellen Hodges, who plays Ariel; and Beaufort High School sophomore Ivan Estrada, who plays Sebastian. This will be their last play with the Beaufort Children's Theatre.

The plot: "The Little Mermaid" is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story about a magical kingdom under the sea. The beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she'll have to defy her father, King Triton, and make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula. Then she'll have to convince Prince Eric that she's the girl with the enchanting voice he heard singing.

The story behind the show: This is the Beaufort Children's Theatre's 10th production. They select their plays to fit with the actors who are participating. They had a hard time during the audition process because of all the talented performers who tried out. More than 130 auditioned. "Little Mermaid" is a wonderful play for a large cast and visually it is very beautiful. Jason Lake, the set designer, is a wizard at designing shows. University of South Carolina Beaufort art major, Lori Heindel, is the artistic designer. She created a beautiful underwater setting for Ariel and all the merfolk to perform "Under the Sea, and Part of Your World." Costume designer Pat Wilcox has made a costume for Ursula that is in a movable cart. It makes Ursula tower over everyone with her 6-foot tentacles.

Director's take: "The coolest thing is the kids," says director Bonnie Hargrove. "They take the performance very seriously, but they know our motto is: If you are having fun the audience will have fun too. They come off the stage with huge smiles and receive tons of hugs and kisses from their adoring fans. (Especially me.)"

Behind the scenes: Conor Gallagher is 15 years old, 6-foot-2 and weighs 200 pounds. He will play Scuttle, the sea gull. His only comment on this was, "Promise me I don't have to wear tights, the costume is awkward enough." The director explained to him that gulls have orange legs and told him he will look great in tights.

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